The Weekly Spoon: Amazon Buys Whole Foods; Smart Gardens Bloom; Barilla 3D Prints Pasta + Blue Apron Pre-IPO

Amazon is officially an omnichannel business. This is clear after this morning's blockbuster announcement that the retail giant has agreed to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Amazon has clearly had a strategy to own the grocery store and dry goods, taking aim at Wal-Mart and Target with its Dash and Pantry programs and working to capture produce with Amazon Fresh. But the company has signaled that it believes in the power of brick and mortar and its role in truly dominating commerce. 

Earlier this year, Amazon debuted its experiment with future grocery shopping concepts through its cashierless, fully automated store Amazon Go. The purchase of Whole Foods not only expands Amazon's ability to increase delivery pickup centers but gives the company a huge reach into typically wealthier corners of the U.S. to experiment with its "grocery store of the future" concepts. 

We dive into the news and look at why the deal makes perfect sense for Amazon - check out our analysis

The poditization of...well, everything is still going strong as evidenced by the next Keurig for indoor growing, Ava Byte. The Indiegogo startup calls itself the "best automated smart garden" and makes a compact growing station with spots for refillable pods to grow really anything you might imagine. Will the recurring revenue of seed pods prove to be successful?

There are a lot of Blue Apron IPO analysis out there, but one, in particular, caught our eye - written by a marketing professor at Emory, it looks at customer retention and the meal kit startup's struggle to keep a loyal customer base. Does this spell bad news for Blue Apron or is it a symptom of the meal kit market as a whole? Don't miss our breakdown.

Also - why is Barilla so interested in 3D printed Christmas tree pasta? 3D food printing is making waves across the food and culinary world, from restaurants to the consumer kitchen, food scientists and Big Food companies are paying attention. 

Applications are pouring in for the 3rd annual Startup Showcase at the Smart Kitchen Summit this fall; if you're a food tech or smart kitchen startup, you don't want to miss the chance to demo and pitch your product in front of the industry's leaders -- deadline to apply is August 15

As thanks for being a subscriber, you can take 25% off early bird prices with code NEWSLETTER for the 2017 Smart Kitchen Summit, coming this October to Benaroya Hall in Seattle. 

Happy Friday!

P.S. Tell your friends to subscribe!

In the 06/16/2017 edition:

Podcast: Amazon Buys Whole Foods

By Michael Wolf on Jun 16, 2017 10:53 am
Every now and then a deal of such magnitude happens, it makes you almost speechless when you first hear about it. Amazon buying Whole Foods is one of those deals. On this quick-take podcast, Mike gets together with Nomiku CEO Lisa Fetterman to discuss this mind-blowing deal, what it could mean for Amazon, what a […]
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Analysis: Here’s Why Amazon & Whole Foods Make Perfect Sense

By Michael Wolf on Jun 16, 2017 06:48 am
Blockbuster news this morning: Amazon is acquiring Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Needless to say, this is a huge deal. My immediate thoughts are this: This deal signifies Amazon’s entry into physical brick and mortar in a big way. The company, which has been toying around with future store concepts like its own bookstore and […]
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Why Synthetic Sensors Could Be The Future Of Smart Kitchen Monitoring

By Sam Dean on Jun 16, 2017 06:08 am
Will the smart kitchen of the future be stocked with arrays of distributed sensors or could a single suite of sensors, localized on a credit-card sized housing, plug into an outlet to imbue the kitchen with all the intelligence it needs? According to Carnegie Mellon researchers in the Future Interfaces Group, the latter concept is […]
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Smart Gardens Follow a Familiar Business Path

By Allen Weiner on Jun 15, 2017 09:03 am
Entrepreneurs behind the recent raft of smart indoor gardens are following the digital commerce wisdom of those who understand the value of subscription-based businesses. The old, “buy the camera for cheap and we will sell you lots of film” concept has been successful for companies such as Keurig and Nespresso in maintaining multiple revenue streams. […]
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Blue Apron’s Biggest Problem Pre-IPO? Finding Loyal Customers

By Ashley Daigneault on Jun 13, 2017 10:09 am
Blue Apron’s impending IPO has been the subject of much speculation and anticipation in the recent months, especially as the meal kit delivery market has experienced great fluctuation in the past few years. The S-1 filing has been analyzed by hordes of financial analysts, but perhaps the most important deep dive into Blue Apron’s documents […]
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Technology Innovation Adds New Dimension To Pasta Making

By Allen Weiner on Jun 13, 2017 05:13 am
Alas, finally technology for those who like to play with their food. Give its universal popularity, pasta is a natural prime target for entrepreneurs wanting to leave an imprint on the future of food. Living at the intersection of smart food techniques and future consumer trends are methods to shapeshift ordinary macaroni noodles into 3D […]
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